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Man found competent to stand trial in death at state mental hospital

A man accused of killing one of his roommates last year at the Clifton T. Perkins state psychiatric hospital in Jessup is competent to go to trial.

Vitali Davydov, 24, is facing one count of first-degree murder. He is accused in the fatal beating of David Rico-Noyola, 22, in the hospital's maximum-security wing on Oct. 21.

A psychiatrist who spoke to Davydov found him to be competent, said Howard County Deputy State's Attorney Mary V. Murphy at a hearing Thursday morning in the county Circuit Court. One of Davydov's attorneys, Rockville-based Barry H. Helfand, did not object to that finding, which means Davydov understands what is going on and is able to participate in his own defense.

"He's competent today. But is he competent tomorrow?" Helfand said after the hearing. Davydov is on several medications and at times hears voices and has delusions, Helfand said. "As we get closer to trial, we might want to have another examination."

The psychiatrist met with Davydov for 70 minutes on Jan. 23 and another 45 minutes on Jan. 30 before issuing her report on Feb. 6..

Davydov pleaded guilty in 2007 to killing a Montgomery County psychologist in 2006, but was found to be not criminally responsible, according to The Washington Post. Rico-Noyola was in the hospital awaiting a November 2011 competency hearing to see if he could go to trial on charges that he killed his mother three years earlier in Anne Arundel County.

Davydov, Rico-Noyola and another man shared a room at the hospital. At about 2:24 p.m. on Oct. 21, Davydov walked out of the room and told a nurse, "My roommate tried to rape me, and I beat him up," according to charging documents. The nurse noticed that Davydov's neck was scratched and there was blood on his hands.

The nurse went to the room and saw Rico-Noyola face down on the floor in a pool of blood. He was taken to Howard County General Hospital and pronounced dead about half an hour later, according to charging documents. The third roommate was not in the room at the time.

Davydov's trial has been scheduled for July 16, with a motions hearing set for April 30.

After the competency hearing, Helfand said he was interested in seeing records for Rico-Noyola — and also wants to look into getting his body exhumed and tested to help determine if a sexual assault took place.

"I'm trying to get to the root of what caused this incident," he said.

Helfand said he believes Davydov will be found not criminally responsible, a determination that would be made after his client is found guilty or not guilty.

Rico-Noyola's death was one of three at the facility in 13 months, and one of two within the span of a week.

El Soundani Elwahhabi, 51, is awaiting trial on a charge of first-degree murder, accused of killing 45-year-old Susan Sachs in September 2010. Andre Mayo, 46, has been accused of killing Rogelion Mondragon, 40, on Oct. 27.

Mayo has a competency hearing scheduled for Feb. 14. Elwahhabi, who was found competent, has his trial set to begin on Feb. 27.

Prosecutors in Elwahhabi's case have moved successfully to keep him from using a defense that he was not criminally responsible.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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